<a title="Harlene S. Stevens, CPA" href="http://www.linkedin.com/pub/harlene-s-stevens/17/a14/4b2?rel=author">Harlene S. Stevens, CPA</a> - Harlene is currently a Manager in the <a href="http://www.nisivoccia.com/">Nisivoccia LLP</a> Commercial Department. She specializes in personal and business income tax planning with an emphasis on medical and dental practices. She has over 20 years of experience servicing clients in the healthcare industry. Harlene has written and spoken on a wide range of topics including tax planning, front desk management, the New Hire Act, Maximizing Revenue and Increasing Dental Office Efficiency and cash management. Harlene’s articles have appeared Insurance Solutions Newsletter, Delta Dental of NJ Newsletter, Tri-County Dental Newsletter, and NJ Physician. Speaking venues include the 2012 and 2014 NJ Dental Association Conference and Expo, Overlook Hospital, Summit, NJ, Regional Dental Hot Topic events and Business Networking Groups.

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Collecting Co-Pays and Deductibles

Are your front desk personnel trained to collect patient co-payments and deductibles at time of service? Do they know the amount of receivables due from each patient and their insurance company? If not, your practice could be losing a significant amount of income. Studies show that collecting payment from patients at the time of service maximizes your collection percentage and decreases collection costs. Taking steps now to collect every dollar earned will prevent your profits from slipping through the cracks. This article offers strategies to successfully collect payments at time of service and is geared towards helping your front desk staff achieve winning performance.

Attitude is Everything

A patient’s first impression of your practice is their front desk experience. Your staff should be greeting patients by name, while presenting a professional attitude and appearance. They should be polite, and possess strong customer service and communication skills. Front desk staff must feel comfortable asking for co-pays and deductibles and indicate that payment is expected at the time of service. Their attitude needs to be friendly, yet firm. The dentists in the practice need to be supportive of the collection policy and refer all discussions regarding financial matters to the appropriate personnel, rather than discussing with the patient. Your office should have a clear, written financial policy, which should specifically state when you expect payment. This will empower your front desk personnel and send a clear message to patients.

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